"The burqa is not religious headwear; it is a physical barrier to engagement in public life adopted in a deep spirit of misogyny," says The Stone column at the New York Times. Feisal G. Mohamed, an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois, says: "The burqa controversy revolves around a central question: 'Does this cultural practice performed in the name of religion inherently violate the principle of equality that democracies are obliged to defend?' The only answer to that question offered by liberty of conscience is that we have no right to ask in the first place."